When I arrived home from England last week there was a happy surprise waiting for me in the post. It was a simple gesture: A short note and some cash directing me to do something nice for myself as a way of “paying forward” the loving reach of a foster mom a couple of generations ago.
Since opening my home to my lovely foster daughter a little over a month ago, I have experienced much generosity from the fostering community. Volunteer groups called to see if we needed school supplies or new clothes. Others have offered to care for the kid for a few hours here-and-there so that I can have some much-needed time out. Still, others have offered to have “baby showers” of sorts to make sure that the kid has everything she needs*.
I’ve had countless people let me know that they are praying for us and I am continually amazed at the care and concern showed by the kid’s social worker and school administrators. Certainly, at every corner along this journey, there is help and support available to ensure she is well. It’s extremely heart-warming.
So why has this gift touched me so much?
Well, I suppose because it’s not about the kid, but about me and the difference that I am making. It’s about acknowledging all of the successful adults in our society who were once foster children themselves – and whose lives were positively impacted by the caring reach of a stranger.
My first thought was to bank the gift because who has time to do something nice for themselves when they’re caring for an 11-year-old on their own? But that would have gone against the spirit of the gift and I’d have felt guilty.
But as luck would have it, the kid has plans for a few hours on Saturday which means I am on my own; free to do as I please. And what I please is to go and get a massage – a lovely, relaxing, hour-long massage.
Lucky for the kid, there’s enough money left for me to stop off at the craft store to get some art supplies for a fun art project for the two of us to do on Sunday afternoon. I’m sure that the giver of such a wonderful gift would allow me to spend some of it for fun with the kid.
And so, dear anonymous friend (if you’re reading this), thank you from the bottom of my heart. Not just for the gift but for taking the time to thank me for my small role in this amazing child’s life in such a lovely way. Knowing that there are people out there who are so kind and supportive of me really is an enormous gift of its own.
How beautiful a day can be when kindness touches it!
~ George Elliston
* The kid has everything she needs and more! And seriously, if we were the same size I would totally be borrowing from her way-awesome wardrobe!